The window on the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior right-handed pitcher, Christian Life (Kenosha, Wis.)
2012 Team record: 17-2 (Division 3)
2012 Team standing: Lost Div. 3 regional semifinal to Martin Luther (Greendale, Wis.), 2-1
2012 Batting average: .732
2012 RBI: 27
2012 Runs: 37
2012 W-L record: 17-2
2012 ERA: 0.43
2012 Strikeouts: 293
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Illinois’ Judson University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Produced a 1.339 slugging percentage and .797 on-base percentage. Amassed 10 doubles, six triples and four home runs. Allowed just 28 hits and seven earned runs in 115 innings pitched. 2011 Wendy’s High School Heisman Wisconsin Female Winner. 2011 Second Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association. 2009, 2010 and 2011 Midwest Classic Conference Player of the Year.
Senior right-handed pitcher/first baseman, Wilmot Union (Wilmot, Wis.)
2012 Team record: 21-3 (Division 1)
2012 Team standing: Division 1 sectional semifinal vs. Westosha Central (Salem, Wis.) on Monday
2012 Batting average: .462
2012 RBI: 35
2012 Runs: 7
2012 W-L record: 21-3
2012 ERA: 0.85
2012 Strikeouts: 286
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Northwestern University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded 2.0 strikeouts per inning, a 10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.63 WHIP. Ranked No. 1 in Division 1 by WisSports.net, Wood’s Wilmot team played 16 of its 19 in-state regular-season games against D1 opponents with a .594 combined winning percentage. 2012 Wisconsin Senior All-Star Game selection. 2011 Player of the Year as named by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2010 and 2011 First Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association. 2011 Division 1 state runner-up.
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
Lauren Blasczyk: Junior pitcher, Appleton East (Appleton, Wis.)
Marissa Michalkiewicz: Junior infielder, Appleton East (Appleton, Wis.)
Evie Schaller: Junior shortstop, Chippewa Falls (Wis.)
Kirsten Tomlinson: Senior pitcher, Poynette (Wis.)
Heather Woyak: Junior outfielder, SPASH (Stevens Point, Wis.)
Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.